woman using leg press machine

Home knee strength tests

Due to the new NSW lockdown, lots of us will be spending more time at home. Take advantage of the situation to self-assess your knee strength with two simple home knee strength tests, especially if you have knee, hip or lower back pain.

Everyone with a little bit of fitness can do these two knee strength tests at home as you don’t need any gym equipment. In the clinic, we use these tests with both athletes and non-athletes when assessing not only knee pain, but also hip and lower back issues. Do you ever feel that you load one side of your body more than the other when doing squats, deadlifts, running…? Does one side of your lower back always get tighter or sorer than the other? These tests are an easy way to find strength asymmetries of the muscles of the knee which maybe could be causing some of your issues and also stopping you from improving your sports performance.

Note: In the clinic, we use a more standardised version, as we do them following The MAT guidelines and as part of our full body assessment in both patients with pain and athletes during pre-season or after injuries, like ACL reconstruction. Nach has done levels 1 and 2 of Movement Assessment Technologies (The MAT) courses and uses their Movement Assessment Tool – The MAT®.

When performing the tests, ideally you want to have less than 10% difference from side to side. If you have a difference of more than 2-3 repetitions, it is time to address that asymmetry. Train the weaker side and re-test in 1-2 weeks.

The Single leg Sit to Stand

It is a useful single-leg strength test that can also help to assess the kinematics and control of the lower limb during such a movement. See video 1 below.

Technique: 

  • Sit with knees and hips flexed to 90°. Try to always use the same bench or chair to standardise the height.
  • Hands on hips or crossed in front of the chest. Just make sure you always use the same arm position.
  • Perform a single leg squat starting from sitting and repeat as many times as possible.
  • >22 is a good number of repetitions.

The Single Leg Hamstring Bridge

Another great strength assessment but this one is for posterior chain of the lower limb. See Video 2 below.

Technique:

  • Lay on your back with one foot on chair, box or bench. Try to have both heels in the same position to standardised the test. 
  • Hands on hips or crossed in front of the chest. Just make sure you always use the same arm position when retesting in the future.
  • Raise up and down as many times as you can.
  • Ideally a second person makes sure that you are always reaching the same height in every repetition with the other knee. I used a light on the ceiling as a guide to make sure I was going as high with both sides.
  • Less than 25 repetitions per side puts you at risk of hamstring injuries if you do running or contacts sports.

My self-assessment:

The first video shows my Single Leg Sit to Stand. I am able to perform 26 repetitions with my left leg and only 20 with my right. It is time to do more work with my right leg including some proprioception training as the right felt more unstable.

The second video shows my Single Leg Hamstring Bridge where I perform 19 repetitions with my left leg and 22 with the right. Interestingly, opposite to the Single Leg Sit to Stand, I’m stronger on my right posterior chain than the left.

Give these tests a go and let us know how you go. Do you have any strength asymmetries? Do you struggle with balance in the single let sit to stand? Let us know if you need a hand addressing your asymmetries!

I myself need to do some work to improve my asymmetries.

Cheers,

Nach.

Do you have any questions or doubts ? Please, do not hesitate to contact us via the CONTACT FORM or call the clinic and ask to talk to your osteopath.

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